Home > All Your Perfects(25)

All Your Perfects(25)
Author: Colleen Hoover

“Do you still feel that way?”

I slide on top of him and his concerned expression is won over by a smile. “At this point I don’t really care how we met. I only care that we met.”

Graham kisses the corner of my mouth, threading our hands together. “I actually thought you took Ethan back and that’s why you never called me.”

“There’s no way I would have taken him back. Especially after he tried to blame the whole affair on Sasha. He painted her out to be some kind of temptress who seduced him. He actually called her a whore once. That was the last time I spoke to him.”

Graham shakes his head. “Sasha isn’t a whore. She’s a relatively good person who sometimes makes terrible and selfish decisions.” He rolls me onto my back and begins to run a lazy finger over my stomach in circles. “I’m sure they did it because they thought they wouldn’t get caught.”

I have no idea how he talks so calmly about it. I was so angry in the weeks following Ethan’s affair. I took it personally, like they had the affair just to spite us. Graham looks at the affair like they did it despite us.

“Do you still talk to her?”

“Hell, no,” he says with a laugh. “Just because I don’t think she’s a malicious person doesn’t mean I want anything to do with her.”

I smile at that truth.

Graham kisses the tip of my nose and then pulls back. “Are you relieved it happened? Or do you miss him?”

His questions don’t seem to come from a place of jealousy at all. Graham just seems curious about the things that have happened in my life. Which is why I answer him with complete transparency. “I missed him for a while, but now that I’ve had a chance to reflect, we really had nothing in common.” I roll onto my side and prop my head up on my hand. “On paper we had a lot in common. But in here,” I touch my chest. “It didn’t make sense. I loved him, but I don’t think it was the kind of love that could withstand a marriage.”

Graham laughs. “You say that like marriage is a Category 5 hurricane.”

“Not all the time. But I definitely think there are Category 5 moments in every marriage. I don’t think Ethan and I could have survived those moments.”

Graham stares up at the ceiling in thought. “I know what you mean. I would have disappointed Sasha as a husband.”

“Why in the world do you think that?”

“It’s more a reflection of her than myself.” Graham reaches up to my cheek and wipes something away.

“Then that would make her a disappointing wife. It wouldn’t make you a disappointing husband.”

Graham smiles at me appreciatively. “Do you remember what your fortune cookie said?”

I shrug. “It’s been a while. Something about flaws, accompanied by a grammatical error.”

Graham laughs. “It said, If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim.”

I love that he kept my fortune. I love it even more that he has it memorized.

“We’re all full of flaws. Hundreds of them. They’re like tiny holes all over our skin. And like your fortune said, sometimes we shine too much light on our own flaws. But there are some people who try to ignore their own flaws by shining light on other people’s to the point that the other person’s flaws become their only focus. They pick at them, little by little, until they rip wide open and that’s all we become to them. One giant, gaping flaw.” Graham makes eye contact with me, and even though what he’s saying is kind of depressing, he doesn’t seem disappointed. “Sasha is that type of person. If I had married her, no matter how much I would have tried to prevent it, she would eventually be disappointed in me. She was incapable of focusing on the positive in other people.”

I’m relieved for Graham. The thought of him being in an unhappy marriage makes me sad for him. And the thought of potentially being in an unhappy marriage hits a little too close to home. I frown, knowing I almost went through with that same type of marriage. I stare down at my hand, unconsciously rubbing my naked ring finger. “Ethan used to do that. But I didn’t notice until after we broke up. I realized I felt better about myself without him than I did with him.” I look back up at Graham. “For so long, I thought he was good for me. I feel so naive. I no longer trust my own judgment.”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” he says. “Now you know exactly what to look for. When you meet someone who is good for you, they won’t fill you with insecurities by focusing on your flaws. They’ll fill you with inspiration, because they’ll focus on all the best parts of you.”

I pray he can’t feel the intense pounding of my heart right now. I swallow hard and then choke out a pathetic sentence. “That’s . . . really beautiful.”

His pointed stare doesn’t waver until he closes his eyes and presses his mouth to mine. We kiss for a quiet moment, but it’s so intense, I feel like I can’t breathe when we separate. I look down and suck in a quiet breath before looking him in the eye again. I force a grin in an attempt to ease the intensity in my chest. “I can’t believe you kept that fortune.”

“I can’t believe you kept my number on your wall for six months.”

“Touché.”

Graham reaches to my face and runs his thumb over my lips. “What do you think is one of your biggest flaws?”

I kiss the tip of his thumb. “Does family count as a flaw?”

“Nope.”

I think on it a moment longer. “I have a lot. But I think the one I would like to change if I could is my inability to read people. It’s hard for me to look at someone and know exactly what they’re thinking.”

“I don’t think many people can read people. They just think they can.”

“Maybe.”

Graham readjusts himself, wrapping my leg over him while his eyes fill with playfulness. He leans forward and brushes his lips across mine, teasing me with a swipe of his tongue. “Try to read me right now,” he whispers. “What am I thinking?” He pulls back and looks down at my mouth.

“You’re thinking you want to move to Idaho and buy a potato farm.”

He laughs. “That is exactly what I was thinking, Quinn.” He rolls onto his back, pulling me on top of him. I push against his chest and sit up, straddling him.

“What about you? What’s your biggest flaw?”

The smile disappears from Graham’s face and his eyes are suddenly sad again. The variance in his expressions is so extreme. When he’s sad, he looks sadder than anyone I’ve ever known. But when he’s happy, he looks happier than anyone I’ve ever known.

Graham threads his fingers through mine and squeezes them. “I made a really stupid choice once that had some devastating consequences.” His voice is quieter and I can tell he doesn’t want to talk about it. But I love that he does anyway. “I was nineteen. I was with my best friend, Tanner. His sixteen-year-old brother, Alec, was with us. We had been at a party and I was the least drunk of the three of us, so I drove us the two miles home.”

Graham squeezes my hands and inhales a breath. He’s not looking me in the eye, so I know his story doesn’t end well and I hate it for him. It makes me wonder if this is the flaw that makes him look as sad as he does sometimes.

“We had a wreck half a mile from my house. Tanner died. Alec was thrown from the vehicle and broke several bones. The wreck wasn’t our fault. A truck ran a stop sign, but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t sober. They charged me with a DUI and I spent a night in jail. But since I didn’t have a record, I was only charged with injury to a child and put on a year of probation for what happened to Alec.” Graham releases a heavy sigh. “Isn’t that fucked up? I got charged for the injuries Alec received in the wreck, but wasn’t charged in the death of my best friend.”

I can feel the weight of his sadness in my chest as I stare at him. There’s so much of it. “You say that like you feel guilty you weren’t charged for his death.”

Graham’s eyes finally meet mine. “I feel guilty every day that I’m alive and Tanner isn’t.”

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